Early Timeline 1900-1950

  • Earliest accessioned specimen:  1900
  • First mention in annual reports request to the president in 1929:  "Support for Zoological Museum"   --MH Spaulding
  • First specific mention of museum needs from 1930-31 annual report: "The most pressing need of the department is for more substantial financial support for museum development:  which would be a worthwhile expenditure, not only from a teaching standpoint, but also as being of extreme interest to the frequent visitors, to whom at present the more unusual forms in the collections are not on display."  --MH Spaulding

  • Excerpt from Annual Report 1931-32:  "Finally, while there are no funds available at present for the purpose, I feel that attention should be called to the need for some Museum development.  It has been my observation from contact with the few visitors we have each year that the collections attract by far the greatest interest. If nothing more could be done than to adequately display the collections at present on hand (which are at present stored away in various storerooms) that would be a great step in creating interest not only among visitors - but in the student body generally."  --MH Spaulding
  • Excerpt from Annual Report 1932-33: “Finally, while there are no funds available at present for the purpose, I feel that attention should again be called to the need for some Museum development.  As has been said before, it has been my observation, from contact with the few visitors we have each year, that the collections attracts a great deal of interest. Personally, I feel confident that the new display case (at present nearing completion) will permit the display of considerable additional material and thereby attract more attention.  If it were possible, in the near future, to purchase additional display glassware it would then be possible to further vary the display by including specimens at present housed in storage bottles only and tucked away in the storerooms.”  --MH Spaulding
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1933-34: “Mention should be made of the interest that the display case installed last year has attracted.  Hardly a day passes that some students do not spend some time looking at the specimens...Summary of Department Needs:-...Museum development; Public Service Rendered:  As in previous years, various requests have been received for information relative to the animals of the state.  In so far as possible, these have been answered.” --MH Spaulding
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1934-35:  “Summary of Department Needs:- Mention has been made previously (see previous reports) of the urgent needs of the department, these are:- additional instructional help, additional laboratory space, Museum development.” --MH Spaulding
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1937-38:  “Increases in Equipment: As new space was badly needed for laboratory use and for advanced students the museum space on the top floor has been developed.  This has been done in such a way that any futu[r]e development of the Museum itself will not be interfered with."  --CV Davis
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1941-42: “The re-employment of Dr. Hiatt, who substituted for Mr. Tryon this year, was a very fortunate thing for the Department.  Dr. Hiatt has had considerable experience in museum work and during the past year has revised the Montana State College Museum of Zoology, and has done the most important work on the museum which as been done in many years.  He has been given complete charge of this part of the Department and this valuable research should grow rapidly in value and importance. The fauna of this State has been studied less than that of others adjoining, and requests for loan of specimens have been received this year.  It is hoped that it will prove an incentive for research Zoologists to visit the campus ad for graduate students to enroll.” --HB Mills
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1942-43:  “The need for new microscopes is still a problem, but nothing can be done about it until after the war.  The Museum, which we had intended to develop considerably, is temporarily abandoned as an active project.  I believe it was ill advised to move a part of the main library into the Museum room. This was instituted without the knowledge or consent of the Department Head. Further, the workmen who did the job moved cases indiscriminately and considerably damaged many specimens.  This shouldn’t happen again.”  --HB Mills
  • 1942:  Murals painted on southern side (display case?)
  • Exerpt from Annual Report 1944-45:  “Mention should be made of excellent additions to the reference collection of insects.  The Rocky Mountain Laboratory gave the institution its general collection of over 5000 specimens, many identified by specialists, and were able to purchase the Albright collection of Lepidoptera, over 8000 specimens, for $250.00.”  --HB Mills
  • Excerpt from Annual Report 1946-47:  “Public service:...Specific activities of the department in support of [bringing better public service though the obtaining of information basic to the understanding and management of the native fauna] will be carried out through the following activities:...to organize and further develop the Montana State College Zoology museum to include adequate collections of all fauna to Montana.”   --HB Mills
  • Excerpt from Annual Report 1947-48:  “Methods of teaching: It is felt that the remodeling of the various laboratories and the establishment of working collections in the Zoology museum have contributed a great deal to better teaching the various Zoology courses offered by the Department.” “Public Service: The zoological collections are being built up as rapidly as possible and will be made available to all parties and agencies interested in the fauna of this State.  Fine cooperation has been given us by the Park and Forest Service in obtaining specimens for this collection. Facilities within the Department are now adequate to properly take care of this material as it is received.”  --JH Pepper
  • Excerpt from Annual Report 1949-50: “Methods of teaching: Continued expansion of working collections in the zoology museum is contributing a great deal to better teaching in the various fish and wildlife courses.  While at present time the collection is by no means adequate, considerable effort is being put forth to obtain specimens which will give us a representative collection of our Montana fauna.”  --JH Pepper


This period, which had more museum oversight, allowed for visitors to the museum and specimens to go on loan.  

  • 48 items loaned
    • 3 for research purposes
    • 37 for education purposes
    • 8 for private purposes
  • 557 Museum Visitors (recorded between 1991-1994)
    • 94 for research purposes
    • 423 for education purposes
    • 38 for other purposes

Currently, with no curator in place, visitors to the museum and the specimen loan program have been suspended.  These are two major reasons why funding for a curator is so important to the future of the museum.

1992:  Tail feathers stolen from inside museum

In the period between February 3 and March 13, 1992, 5 birds (3 golden eagles, a  Swainson's hawk, and a Gyrfalcon) were vandalized by having their tail feathers removed.  Three of the vandalized birds were located in display cases, while the other 2 were housed within the museum.   The culprit was caught soon after and restitution was made.